Arabs Riot on Temple Mount

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, yet Jews are not allowed to pray there. If any number of Jews gather there the Arabs riot, they want it all to themselves.

After the IDF captured the site in the 1967 Six Day War, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, in a major error of judgement, gave control of the site to the Muslim authority (the Waqf). But they did not show the gratitude he expected. They have consistently rioted to prevent Jewish presence there.

The fracas yesterday resulted from the fact that the Jewish commemoration of Tisha b’av coincided with ad al Idha, the Muslim day of the sacrifice on which they believe Abraham spared Ishmael, not Isaac as told in the Bible.  Another example of altered borrowing from Jewish sources.

Approximately 2,000 Jews ascended the Mount to pray on Tisha b’av, and they were pelted with a barrage of stones and other objects. The police were called in and used tear gas to force the attacking Arabs to retreat. No one was killed.

At first if was reported that PM Netanyahu had issued orders not to let the Jews on to the Temple Mount to avoid the Arab reaction, but later he denied that under pressure from right-wing groups and said it was only the local police decision that was then countermanded.  Whatever the case, although Israel has sovereignty on the Temple Mount Jews fear to go there because of Arab hostility.  Nothing has changed in 100 years, so who expects them to make peace and share, no-one with any sense.


PS. I’ve been sick for a few days  with back pain and digestive upsets.  Better now.

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Wave of Stabbings

In the past few days there has been a wave of stabbings in Israel and the West Bank, taking the lives of two Israelis, and several Palestinian terrorists were killed and/or captured.  In the latest case, Dvir Sorek (18), a religious soldier out of uniform, was stabbed multiple times last night near the entrance of his community of Kibbutz Migdal Oz in the Etzion bloc.  He apparently put up a fight, so the terrorists, instead of kidnap[ping him as they usually try to do, murdered him instead.

A manhunt is now underway in the West Bank for his killers.  The nearby village of Beit Fajjar has been sealed off and is being searched house to house. Often this technique is used to persuade sympathetic individuals to provide information as to who the killers might be.  Note that these actions are always responsive to attacks from the terrorist, no such actions would occur if they did not keep attacking and killing Israeli civilians.

These attacks have been connected to Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, that praised the attackers.  There is widespread opinion in Israel that the IDF should severely punish Hamas for its constant attacks, using rockets and incendiary balloons from Gaza, weekly riots at the Gaza-Israel border and now this wave of stabbings.  In every way Hamas tries to murder ordinary Israelis.  It should not be allowed to continue. PM Netanyahu has labelled this killing a a serious crime and has hinted that he will now act to annex Area C of the West Bank into Israel proper.

Kashmir

I have always maintained  that the Kashmir problem is far more serious than the Palestine problem.  Kashmir is much greater in size and population and the claimants to Kashmir, India and Pakistan, both have large armies and nuclear weapons.  The current crisis was triggered when India put Kashmir under martial law and then yesterday  rescinded article 370 of the agreement between India and Kashmir that gave it special autonomous status.  This means that the limited protections Kashmir had have been cancelled and India has now taken direct control of Kashmir.  Actually India occupies about 2/3 of Kashmir, while Pakistan illegally controls about 1/3 which its army occupied in 1948 immediately following independence.   

For those not familiar with the issue, Kashmir has a largely Muslim population, but had a Hindu ruler.  Upon Indian independence in 1948 he chose to join India rather than Pakistan, as was his right, but he asked for assurances from India that Kashmiri’s rights would be protected by a special status.  That is the article 370 that has now been unilaterally rescinded by the Indian Government.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars at various times since 1948, and there have been many clashes and Islamic terrorism in Kashmir.  When the BNP Party was re-elected to rule India under PM Modi with a big majority, such a move could have been expected in Kashmir, although it took most observers by surprise.  His party has intended to make such a move for a long time, but now the time has arrived, while the US and others are distracted by the trade war with China and the problems with Iran. 

There is no doubt that in India Kashmir is seen as a legitimate part of India and they intend to make it that way.  What Pakistan will do now is unknown.  They might annex their portion of Kashmir, they might foment unrest among the Muslim population of Kashmir and they might even attack and start another war over Kashmir.  If they do there is little doubt on which side the USA and \Israel will be.  Currently Israel is selling arms to India and training its military. India is a pro-Western democracy and it will find support in the West as long as it does not itself start hostilities.   

American Tragedy

The two mass shootings yesterday in the US at El Paso, Texas that killed 20, and Dayton, Ohio that killed 9, have become a regular feature of American life.  So far in 2019 there have been 248 mass shootings in the USA and 246 people were killed and nearly 1,000 wounded.  That comes out at more than one shooting per day.  They are spread all over the USA, surprisingly perhaps the majority of shootings occur in the East, South, Mid-West and West coast, but very few in the former frontier region of the Western US.   In other words the statistics follow the population density.  The number and distribution of shootings were very similar in 2018.   So the argument that this is a result of the American “frontier mentality” is nonsense.

More and more people are armed, and in some States it is now legal for teachers to carry guns, but this has in no way decreased the incidence of attacks, most of which do not occur in schools.  The only sensible way to tackle this American tragedy is to prevent guns getting into the hands of people who have anti-social tendencies.  In other words prevention is the best approach, and that can only be attempted by doing thorough checks into the mental state and affiliations in social media of all persons applying for guns licences.  There have to be tough laws.

The counter argument is that all Americans should have the “right to bear arms,” but in a civilized country that contains not a few racists and crazies, that right is an illusory one.  Second, that there are so many guns available in the US that it is pointless trying to control them, because a dedicated killer can obtain guns illegally.  But, that is simply giving up and letting the killers get away with it.  At least don’t make it easy for them.  And if law enforcement was doing its job, the cost and access to illegal weapons would not be so easy.

It is no surprise that at least one of the shooters was a loner found to have racist views and to have written an on-line manifesto proclaiming that he was going to kill Mexican immigrants to the US.  If law enforcement was active in scanning social media they might have been able to prevent the El Paso shooting.  It is futile and dishonest to blame these shootings on Pres. Trump, on the contrary, his election in the first place was an indication of the feelings of a majority of Americans that the US is being flooded by illegal immigrants, without any apparent sign of previous Administrations doing anything effective about it.  Indeed the Obama Administration encouraged such immigration, as some left-liberal Democrats are still doing. 

It is self-defeating for liberal Blacks and Jews to support the immigration of poor Central American economic migrants on sentimental grounds.  The situation has gone way beyond that and the fate and future of the US is at stake.  As happened in the UK, where immigration from the former British Empire and the EU have become such a burden, there comes a point at which mass immigration cannot be allowed to continue.

Good News and Bad News for Jews

It’s usually like this, there is good news and bad news for Jews.  In  Jewish tradition lets have the bad news first:

  1. A Hamas terrorist infiltrated the Gaza border yesterday and not only shot and wounded an IDF officer and two soldiers, but was able to remain on the Israeli side for two hours before he was shot dead.  This was a major embarrassment for the IDF, which had detected him in time, but failed to take effective action.
  2. A Jewish man was shot dead in a drive-by shooting while waiting outside the Miami Beach Synagogue to go into prayers.  Fortunately the shooter did not enter the synagogue, as one did in Pittsburgh a few months ago and killed 11.  This shooting was a shock to the Jews of Florida and the USA again.  More security is needed.
  3. The UK Labour opposition party under Jeremy Corbyn has been exposed in an investigation as the most anti-Semitic ever. Let’s hope they never get a chance to be the Government of the UK.

Now the good news:

  1. The US House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning the BDS movement and boycotts of Israel.   This was in response to the move by Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib (who does she represent?) who sought to introduce a Bill supporting BDS.
  2. The UK has a new Conservative PM, Boris Johnson.  He is known to be a great friend of Israel and his Cabinet is supposed to be the most pro-Israel ever.  But, they are distracted by Brexit, which they have to deliver.
  3. The Arrow-3 anti-missile missile was tested in Alaska and the test was fully successful.  This is a joint US-Israel project and the test was carried out with the Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer present.   This should protect Israel against future missile attacks planned by Iran.
  4. Pres. Trump took another step against Iran by sanctioning its Foreign Minister and spokesman Javid Zarif.  He is also trying to organize an international consortium to protect oil tankers in the Persian Gulf from Iranian attack.

Stand Up Mr. Peretz

No wonder I was confused, there are two Mr. Peretz and they happen to be at opposite ends of the Israeli political spectrum.  The results of the last election that ended in a stalemate has caused some smaller parties, some of which did not even reach the threshold for representation in the Knesset, to combine in order to try to increase their number of seats.  It so happens that a Mr. Rafi Peretz is Head of the United Right party that obtained 5 seats and Mr. Amir Peretz is Head of the Israel Labor Party that got only 6 seats, the lowest ever for the Party that controlled Israel for its first three decades.

On the right, three parties have now combined to contest the rerun election in September, namely Bayit Yehudi, the New Right and National Union.  The likely name of the merged list will be the United Right.  The irony is that the leaders of the New Right, Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett, moved from Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), a party that they founded, to get away from the religious members of the party, but neither they in the New Right nor Bayit Yehudi crossed the threshold for election.  Now in the new Union, Shaked is no. 1 on their list, Bennett is number 4, with Rafi Peretz at no. 2 and National Union leader Bezalel Smotrich at number 3.  Only the far right parties Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) and Zehut (Identity) run by Moshe Feiglin have failed to join the United Right union.

On the left a similar process of unification is occurring, with Meretz (with 4 seats) combining with the new party called The Democratic Union, formed by Stav Shaffir. who is a far-leftist activist who left the Labor Party to form this new leftist group.  An old-timer, former PM Ehud Barak, has come out of retirement and has joined her party.  Together the Democratic Union might garner 12 seats. Meanwhile the Labor Party has come under new old leadership, Amir Peretz (the left wing Peretz), who has refused to join with the Democratic Union, but is about to combine with the Gesher Party, run by Orly Levy-Abecassis, a moderate left party.  Labor as a Party is in its near death throes, having lost massive popular support over the years.  In fact, perhaps in order to survive, Peretz might agree to join a Likud-Netanyahu coalition, but the Democratic Union stated that it would not do so.

So although the results of the rerun election may be pretty much the same as before, the smaller parties, including the four Arab parties, have combined to try to ensure that they pass the threshold for representation in the next Knesset.

The Saga of the Cracked Tooth

This is a story that began some 25 years ago in a hotel in New Delhi, India.  I was taking a  shower in the morning in preparation for departure to the airport to fly back to the US via London.  I was surprised while I was in the shower to hear the door-bell ring.  Normally hotel rooms do not have door-bells, but this was a fancy old hotel called the Raj I think.  So I quickly got out of the shower, pulled a huge bath towel around myself and wondering who it could be ran to the door.  Somehow I caught my foot in the towel or the rug slipped, and I fell forward onto the marble floor.  Because my hands were holding the towel I could not protect myself and I fell on the right side of my face.  It was a hard fall and I was in great pain.  Nevertheless, I opened the door and there stood three servants, a short one, a medium one and a tall one, all wearing maroon short jackets and a flat cap, and they each had their hand extended and asked for “baksheesh.”   Of course I fumbled in my wallet and gave them some Rupees.  But, when I shut the door I returned to the fact that I was in severe pain.

But, I had no time to do anything, I had to get to the airport and I had a taxi coming.  So I bore it and quickly dressed and went out and caught the taxi.  At the airport I had no time to look for anything, but as soon as I was aboard the plane I asked the stewardess if they had any aspirin, and she said “sorry, we aren’t allowed to give drugs to passengers.”  I should have asked her to ask the other passengers, but I did not, I thought maybe I can sleep during the flight.  But, then the flight was delayed for 2 hours due to fog on the runway, and I sat trapped in the plane in terrible agony.

Many hours later we arrived in London and the next day I called several local dentists to see if I could get an emergency appointment.  I found one and went there, but he turned out to be an old man, obviously not the most up-to-date.  He looked at my teeth on the RHS and said that the one from the back on top was cracked and it would take a lot of work to fix it, so I would have to come back. But, I said, I’m in pain now, so he gave me a prescription and that was that.

I was still in pain when I boarded the flight to Washington DC and until the next day when I could get an emergency appointment with my dentist.  He confirmed that the said tooth was cracked and would take some work.  He suggested a crown to save the tooth, and I agreed.  So the problem seemed to be solved.  But, I kept having trouble with that tooth.  Other dentists have done things to it over the years, but it never seemed satisfactory.  Finally, in Beer Sheva I decided to go to friendly American-qualified dentist Dr. Marc, who looked at the x-rays and said, that tooth is cracked and is loose and decayed and it needs to come out. 

But a few weeks later before any treatment, the crown actually fell out by itself.  I said good-riddance.  The only problem was that the dentist had to remove the surviving fragments of the tooth.  That left me with a missing tooth, and he said he would build a bridge to hold a tooth in the gap, fixed to the teeth on either side.  The obvious question was what kind of bridge, Brooklyn or Golden Gate?  Well last Friday Dr. Marc installed the three tooth combination, the two crowns with a false tooth fixed between them to fill the gap of the missing (formerly cracked) tooth.  So now hopefully the saga of the cracked tooth is finally over.